The UK’s market-leading ambulance conversion specialist, VCS, is on track to deliver the country’s first hydrogen fuel cell ambulance to the London Ambulance Service by autumn 2021.
The prototype zero emissions ambulance is the product of the ZERRO (Zero Emission Rapid Response Operations ambulance) project, which is funded by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV). The project is a joint effort between Woodall Nicholson-owned VCS and Promech Technologies, as well as project-lead and hydrogen fuel pioneer, ULEMco.
Currently in the prototype build stage, ZERRO’s ambulance body benefits from VCS’s class-leading lightweight ‘Core Capture’ construction method. This offers outstanding strength and practicality, without impacting vehicle efficiency. VCS’s commitment to highly skilled British-built design and engineering expertise also guarantees the vehicle’s quality despite being the first of its kind.
ProMech Technologies provides expertise in low floor chassis design to the ZERRO project, which features an easy access floor for easier loading and unloading of patients, and removes the need for lifting equipment. It also brings expertise in the integration and packaging of zero-emission and electric powertrains for bespoke applications, such as the ZERRO ambulance.
As project lead, ULEMco offers a high level of expertise in hydrogen fuel cell technology. The project also includes Lyra Electronics, which brings specialist DC-DC electronics capability, and Ocado, with experience in the practical use of electric vehicles.
Mark Kerrigan, Managing Director at VCS, said: “The way in which emergency service fleets embrace zero emissions technology is important for the country’s wider drive towards carbon neutrality. As new technologies, such as hydrogen fuel cells, are piloted in the ambulance service, I’m delighted that VCS can be relied upon for its high-quality, ultra-lightweight conversion capabilities.”
John Randerson, Chief Technology Officer at Woodall Nicholson, said: “We’re delighted that our companies have been selected to work alongside ULEMCo on the ZERRO project for LAS. We have a proven track record in delivering innovative vehicle solutions in the Blue Light and passenger transport sectors. Through our Promech Technologies company, we continue to develop and expand our new energy expertise.”
The ZERRO project follows the introduction of the UK’s first fully-electric front line ambulance, the E-DCA, by VCS in 2020.